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Sep 17 2015

13 Insects You Won’t Believe Exist

If you get even a hint of the shivers when you think about insects, bugs and other creepy crawlies, you’d probably better look away now!

13 Unbelievable Insects


13 – The Stink Bug

These little critters may look pretty tame, but their name is a dead giveaway as to why they’ve made it onto this list. Unlike most other insects, which rely on ‘fight or flight’, the Stink Bug, releases a disgusting smell when it feels threatened.

It does this by releasing chemicals called aldehydes from glands on its thorax. Think of it as a skunk but with more legs!

12 – The Scorpion Fly

The first question that has no doubt popped into your head is, is that a scorpion or a fly? And the second question is probably, does that thing hurt?

Well, you’ll be glad to know that this little British insect’s scorpion-like tail poses no danger to us humans – it’s purely for show. The male Scorpion fly, or panorpa communis, uses its tail as part of a courtship ritual, which involves, amongst other things, offering the female a gift of a dead insect or a mass of saliva – how romantic!

 

11 – The Denkimushi

Looking like a cross between a balloon and a cucumber, the Denkimushi could have crawled straight out of one of Japan’s comic book strips.

But this little Asian creature would certainly play the part of a villain – it releases chemicals when it feels threatened which make you feel like you’ve had an electric shock! In fact, the name itself is Japanese for ‘electric insect’.

 

10 – The Devil’s Flower Mantis

You’ll be forgiven for thinking that this monster is the brainchild of a wicked sci-fi writer – a space alien intent on domineering the human race into submission.

But no, this is none other than the Idolomantis diabolica, or Devil’s Flower mantis. Despite its creepy name and appearance, this mantis can be kept as a pet, and is actually pretty skittish and panicky when face-to-face with a human.

They are popular amongst those who like creepy-crawlies in their house due to their bright colours and impressive displays, but are also very difficult to look after.

 

9 – The Calleta Silkmoth Caterpillar

One website describes this crazy caterpillar as the result of a design meeting between Jackson Pollock and God. I, however, am not so convinced that Pollock would have had quite so much of a say in matters, but this creature may prove me wrong!

The caterpillar of the Calleta Silk moth has a varying number of colours, some displaying bright turquoise crowns with dark spikes, others showing black triangles and red circles. Regardless to how this animal came about, its intentions are clear. It uses its bright colours to fend off predators. Nobody wants to eat a meal with more colours than an Andy Warhol painting!

 

8 – The Tailed Emperor Butterfly Caterpillar

Have you seen this creature before? Cast your mind back – was it in Star Wars or Star Trek? Was it a friendly alien or a killer monster?

Actually, this is the caterpillar of the Tailed Emperor butterfly, a beautiful black and white insect found in parts of Australia. As with many caterpillars, this little fellow is quite harmless, despite its alienesque horned head.

 

7 – The Venezuelan Poodle Moth

Maybe it’s time for us to look at something cute and fluffy. Okay, well this creature’s definitely fluffy, but it hasn’t quite got the cute factor!

The Venezuelan Poodle moth was only discovered in 2009, so there is still a lot to learn. (It hasn’t even been designated a Latin name yet!) It is believed, due to the warm climate of its surroundings, that the fur is used for sensing its environment rather than to keep warm. Either way, I don’t think I’ll be picking this little guy up for a cuddle any time soon!

 

6 – The Panda Ant

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. It’s an ant that looks like a panda. Okay, that’s done – time to move onto the next one … But wait, it’s not quite that simple.

The Panda ant was given its name because of its appearance, but it’s actually a type of wingless wasp! Discovered in Chile in 1938, this insect has remained fairly incognito, leaving us with little information about it.

What we do know is not good, though. The panda ant has a powerful sting – it’s been known to bring down a cow with just a dozen stings! It’s also closely related to the Red Velvet ant, creepily nicknamed the ‘cow killer’.

5 – The Giraffe Weevil

This picture may look like a silly Photoshop effort, but it’s actually a real insect. The Giraffe weevil was first discovered in Madagascar in 2008, and little is known about it except its appearance.

The male weevil’s neck is normally two to three times larger than that of the female. This is used for nest-building and for combat with other Giraffe weevils.

In these fights, the loser is rarely killed, but ventures off of its own accord. Fortunately, these are a relatively peaceful species, rarely harming other animals – it is a herbivore with no known bite or sting. Isn’t it nice to have some good news?!

4 – Umbonia Spinosa

This picture may look like some dangerous thorns or prickly spikes, but look closer and you’ll see the tiny, well-camouflaged legs of the Umbonia Spinosa.

This insect, unsurprisingly also known as the ‘thorn bug’, lives in South and Central America as is considered a pest in the USA as it destroys ornamentals and fruit trees.

They feed on the plants’ stems, sucking the sap out. Due to the sheer number of bugs, the plant eventually dies. Imagine if you will a vampire with a thirst for sap!

 

3 – The Brazilian Treehopper

If it wasn’t for the interesting headgear, the Brazilian Treehopper would get away with being called an ordinary-looking insect. Scientists have had fun looking at the reasons for the globes atop this insect’s brow.

The initial idea of sexual organs was refuted, as both the male and female are ‘blessed’ with the odd-looking balls. The second theory is that the hollow globes are purely to deter predators. After all, who would want to eat that?!

As likely as this explanation seems, there is another aspect to take into account. The strange hood ornaments are covered in tiny hairs, suggesting some type of tactile use, as with a cat’s whiskers.

Whatever the reason, these creatures have given some people a reason to push the idea of evolution over creationism, as well as giving the rest of us something creepy to have nightmares about!

2 – The Hummingbird Hawk-Moth

Don’t worry; I haven’t wandered off topic here. Although you may mistakenly spot a bird in this picture, it’s actually a moth!

As the name points out, this insect has the magical appearance of a hummingbird, along with its trademark hum. This creature, found in the British Isles and Europe, is an example of convergent evolution – that is to say, that both it and the hummingbird evolved to take advantage of specific traits, such as weight and ability to hover.

1 – The Japanese Giant Hornet

We end with an insect, which has all the traits of a horror movie villain. Terrifying to look at hear and, well, to generally encounter in any way.

The Japanese Giant hornet usually grows to about 1½ inches and has a two inch wing span and a ¼ inch sting. And speaking of stings, this one is bad.

Not only will the hornet inject neurological venom into you, but it will also release an alarm pheromone, which alerts nearby hornets too.

Around 30-40 people are killed in Japan each year by these insects, despite them having no interest in eating human flesh.

However, they can kill up to forty bees a minute, spray acid into your eyes and fly for up to fifty miles a day. The lesson to take from all this? Don’t upset a Japanese Giant hornet!

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